Moomins and Complicity with Matter: Tove Jansson’s Moominpappa at Sea as an Intervention in Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things by Jane Bennett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

As humans we are constantly engaging not only with other humans but with plants, animals, and matter. This article examines the way we view our engagement with the materiality of the world around us, by looking at the work of philosopher Jane Bennet on vibrant materiality and author Tove Jansson. Bennet presents an argument that matter can be analysed as active and vibrant. While Western philosophers are used to viewing matter as passive and dead, seeing it as active makes space for different engagement with matter. One of the ways we can start engaging with matter, once we stop thinking of it as passive and dead, is through the lens of ethics. Jansson in her children’s book Moominpappa at Sea shows a possibility for looking at the material world through this ethical lens. This article will put these works in conversation by reading both as philosophical works that have nuanced engagement with the topic of how we can be in community with the things that surround us. Jansson’s work provides a helpful addition to Vibrant Matter by showing how we are inextricably entangled in harm, and providing a possible way to live with this reality.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberdoi.org/10.1515/sats-2021-0009
Pages (from-to)17-32
Number of pages16
JournalSATS
Volume23
Issue number1,2022
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • new materialism; moomins; complicity; ethics; vibrant matter

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